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Odessa explosion equivalent to 400 grams of TNT - Interior Ministry

January 16, 2015, 23:58 UTC+3 ODESSA

A regular explosion shook Odessa in the evening of January 16 near a building hosting Diamantbank and an organization that rendered assistance to participants of Kiev’s military operation in Donbass

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© Andrew Malinowski / TASS

ODESSA, Ukraine, January 16 /TASS/. The power of the explosive device that went off in downtown Odessa in southern Ukraine is equivalent to 400 grams of TNT, the Interior Ministry of the Odessa Region said Saturday.

A regular explosion shook Odessa in the evening of January 16 near a building hosting Diamantbank and, according to local residents, an organization that rendered assistance to participants of Kiev’s military operation in Donbass (Donetsk and Lugansk regions). The shockwave damaged the building’s facade and smashed windows in nearby houses.

“No one was injured in the explosion,” the ministry said.

In early December 2014 and in January 2015 a few blasts rocked Odessa, with part of them occurring near organizations connected with rendering assistance to participants of the military operation in Donbass. Law enforcers described all episodes as terrorist attacks.

Last year’s massacre in Odessa

Odessa saw riots on May 2, 2014 during which soccer fans from other cities, as well as Right Sector militants and so-called “Maidan self-defense” representatives from Kiev organized a march along city streets. Clashes with federalization supporters occurred during the march.

Radicals set ablaze the Trade Unions House, where their opponents hid, and a tent camp where activists were collecting signatures for a referendum on Ukraine’s federalization and for the status of a state language for Russian. The attackers did not let anyone leave the burning Trade Unions House building.

At least 48 people died and 247 were injured in the clashes and the fire in the Trade Unions House. Another 48 people were listed as missing. Some Ukrainian politicians asserted that the death toll reached 116 but that the Kiev authorities concealed the facts. Investigators have so far failed to name those guilty of the crime.

Southeast Ukrainian developments

Kiev’s military operation designed to regain control over the breakaway Donetsk and Lugansk regions in Ukraine’s southeast on the border with Russia, which call themselves the Donetsk and Lugansk People's republics (DPR and LPR), conducted since mid-April 2014, has left thousands of people dead, brought destruction and forced hundreds of thousands to flee.

The parties to the intra-Ukrainian conflict agreed on a ceasefire during talks mediated by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on September 5, 2014 in Belarusian capital Minsk two days after Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed his plan to settle the situation in the east of Ukraine.

Numerous violations of the ceasefire, which took effect the same day, have been reported since.

A memorandum was adopted on September 19, 2014 in Minsk by the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine comprising representatives of Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE. The document outlined the parameters for the implementation of commitments on the ceasefire in Ukraine laid down in the Minsk Protocol of September 5.

The nine-point memorandum in particular envisioned a ban on the use of all armaments and withdrawal of weapons with the calibers of over 100 millimeters to a distance of 15 kilometers from the contact line from each side. The OSCE was tasked with controlling the implementation of memorandum provisions.

A "day of silence" in eastern Ukraine began at 09:00 a.m. local time (0700 GMT) on December 9 last year. It was seen as another attempt by both parties to the intra-Ukrainian conflict to put an end to hostilities. Both Kiev and the self-proclaimed republics voiced the necessity to start withdrawal of heavy armaments, swap prisoners and demilitarize the region.

The situation in the region recently deteriorated when a passenger bus bound from Donetsk to Zlatoustovka was shelled on January 13. Twelve civilians were killed and at least 16 wounded.

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